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Three tips for keeping secure whilst accessing unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots.

Blog post by Simon Ellson.

Last month, Norton teamed up with Sperling’s BestPlaces, an independent research firm, to uncover Europe’s ‘riskiest’ online city. Sperling looked at consumer lifestyle habits and Symantec’s cyber crime data to understand the various factors that put a consumer at risk. They then determined the per-capita ranking by examining several consumer behaviours, including the frequency of PC’s and smartphones accessing social network sites through potentially un-secured Wi-Fi hotspots. The research found that:

  • Manchester was Europe’s riskiest online city. Not only did it have the highest incidences of Wi-Fi hotspots and malware attempts, it had a high percentage of consumers accessing social networks via unsecure internet connections
  • London ranked at number five. Although London had low levels of cybercrime data its high level of internet usage increased its overall risk factor.
  • Dublin had a low level of smartphone use, an average number of cybercrime data, low levels of computer usage by residents and an average number of Wi-Fi hotspots.

Although these cities are the ranked as Europe’s online riskiest, this doesn’t mean that they are the ones with the highest infection rate (read: successful cyber attacks), but rather, these cities have the greatest risk factors and consumers from these cities are taking steps to keep themselves safe online. So, if you are using an unsecured Wi-Fi hotspot remember to follow our three simple tips to protect yourself:

  1. Proceed with caution - Wi-Fi hotspots are a great resource, but make sure you’re using a secured network if shopping online or banking from your laptop, tablet or smartphone.
  2. Use complex and unique passwords for each site - Use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers and make your passwords as random as possible. Also, try to change your passwords regularly and if managing all of the different passwords is tricky, try Norton’s ID Safe beta, a free free, cloud-enabled service that lets you securely store and synchronize logins, passwords, credit cards, and other Web form information across browsers and devices.
  3. Stay educated - Read about developments in cybercrime and how you can keep yourself and your family safe online. For updates and tips you can also visit Norton’s Facebook page and website for information on the softwares that can help you protect your stuff.